Are you talking about having a dealer do this or an independent?
I wouldn't go to an independent and ask him to do this work because even if you list everything down, you wouldn't be sure it got done right OR even got done at all. :'(
I wasn't even thrilled about having a dealer do it because of some of the stories I read about. If I was you, I'd read and read the tons of info on this site and build your knowledge base AND create a "requirements list" for the mechanic. I started a thread on just this and had it reviewed by the team here. In the end it seemed simplier to do it myself then to trust someone else.
It's an easy job for a mechanic to cut corners on and you'll never know it. You would also want to inspect the components as it's being done to learn about the state of the axle and such. Even looking at the diff oil coming out is worth noting.
New triple seals (metal/felt/rubber) on steering knuckle - installed in the correct order with the rubber lip facing the correct direction I might add.
One of the biggest omissions I see both by dealers and independents is they don't actually pull the axle/birf out, but simply slap some new grease into it, replace the triple seal (usually wrongly) and consider all the seals replaced. The glaring omission is the inner axle seal, which means for a few months there will be no leakage because the triple seal is tight enough for a time to hold the gear oil in the knuckle. About the time a 90 day warranty is up, the gear oil starts to leak out again. Good advice on getting to know the front axle structure on your truck as the mechanic will likely not.
Holy Crap,With all the time I've spent reading this forum I somehow missed that link UpNorth just posted.I've been considering doing my front axle myself, but hell Ive never changed a break pad let alone done a front axle service.That link may have just pushed me over the edge(I CAN DO IT!!)I hope.Thnx Upnorth and -B- for so much info. and IDAHODOUG too. hey where u at anyway Doug? I 'm in Clarkston,Wa. just moved here...Love it!
You can use that post for the parts and images plus Jim Phillips' article in the tech section of ih8mud. Between those two you have everything you'll need to do the job. Plan for 2 full days and be happy if it takes less time.
Trust us on this.... You CAN do it yourself and then use the $1000 you save to buy one of Christo's front bumpers.
I'm living proof you can do it. I had just basic mechanic knowledge and had never changed a brake pad either. I'd also suggest getting the FSM (Factory Service Manual) to also consult with.
The only thing that I felt was pushing the envelope was all the pounding with the brass drift. I had never realized how much hammering a mechanic could do. Pounding out the races and new ones back in is something to get used to.
Make sure you have all the tools (the brass drfit is key!).
I agree with planning on 2 days. It took me 2 hours alone on Saturday and then Simon and I the entire Sunday. With only one guy the first time could really take 2 days. If we hadn't changed the wheel bearings it would have been less.
Thnx for the vote of confidence guys.I'm confident I can do it I just wish I had someone nearby with greater mechanical knowledge than myself but all my buddies are back in Seattle and I dont think there is anyone from Ih8muD around Clarkston or Lewiston,Idaho area(is there?).She's got 91,000 miles on her but they are easy hwy miles and I'm the 1st to actually beat her(sounds bad).The PO did not even know what that locker switch actually was and it was slow to engage for the 1st dozen or so times,actually it still is.Sometimes I have to roll maybe 30 40 feet to get it to disengage.Is this normal?Anyway I have all service records and I know the axle has never been rebuilt so I will be tackling this in the spring.I've been shopping for a brass hammer(same as a "drift" I assume?)...crazy prices, harbor freight I think was $8 and I've seen it locally up to $80! Thnx again,Vince
97cruiser: A brass hammer is not the same as a brass drift. Although I do recomend getting a brass hammer, you will have to have a brass drift. A drift is also commonly refered to as a PUNCH (looks like a chisel, but without the edge; comes to a blunt point). Don't let the job scare you, once you do it once you will feel like a MAN and more confident on the trail if you snap a birf. If you plan on owning LC's for some time to come, then I would say this is a MUST DIY procedure for you. I suggest looking at Morgan Fletcher's link on the "technical links" of this site under "axle/drivetrain tech". He shows the entire process in a step by step manner. YOU CAN DO IT!! You will need a little patience(maybe more than that) and ALOT of rags. GOOD LUCK
Read the numerous posts in this forum on testing the F&R diff locks. They will explain (with pics) how the locks engage and disengage and how to do it.
Waiting until spring to do the service might be OK, though I think you should do it this fall or winter. At 91k you are approaching the outside limit of what most of us have found as the safe time for the service. Mine were done at about 95k and one side had just a little grease, the other was nearly out of grease (neither side was leaking!!!) Several guys on this list have put off the service with unpleasant ($$$$) outcomes. One guy lost both birfields backing out of a driveway the same weekend. His were dry and actually rusty inside.
You can get both the brass drift set and the brass hammer at Harbor Freight. Theirs work just fine and the price is right.
Space aversion - that's good, and I gotta agree - what's up with the sentences jammed together. Heh.
Forget the fancy brass drift. I split the cost of a 4 foot long 1/2" brass rod from the local metal supplier with a buddy. The metal's so soft it takes about 30 seconds to saw through it with a hand hacksaw. Then when the end's all mashed up, you hack off an eighth inch for a fresh edge and so on. So far, I've used it for the axle job, a wheel bearing job, and a wheel bearing job on my boat trailer. It cost me less than $10 and a this rate I'll use it up by around 2030. You can use a normal hammer on this, also.
[quote author=IdahoDoug link=board=2;threadid=6012;start=msg48476#msg48476 date=1065574003]
I split the cost of a 4 foot long 1/2" brass rod from the local metal supplier with a buddy.[/quote]
Saw off another 4 inches, drill a hole in it, stick a handle in there, and you'll have a brass hammer every bit as nifty as mine. I usually end up hitting it like a drift with another hammer, holding it by the handle.